Most people now have a telephone, either in their home or a mobile telephone. The number of suppliers and the different services they provide can make it difficult to know what is the best option for you. In this section we have given information about how to find the most suitable supplier for your needs and also details of some of the services that you may find useful.
Landlines and Mobile Telephones
Finding the Best Provider
The following price comparison websites can help you to find the cheapest supplier for your needs. You will be asked to provide details of the type of calls that you make and the average duration and frequency in order for your telephone needs to be assessed. If you prefer to speak to someone, you can contact them using the details given at the top of this page.
If you are in receipt of certain benefits for example, Pension Credit, Income Support, Universal Credit or Jobseeker’s Allowance, you may be eligible for a more affordable telephone service. For example BT have introduced BT Basic .
If cost is not your main priority, you may wish to choose a provider who has the best results for service provision. You can do this by contacting Ofcom. Ofcom provides details of service provision, reported faults, complaints and billing accuracy for all of the main home telephone service providers.
Stopping Unwanted Calls
Sometimes we can receive telephone calls which are unwanted. This is not only annoying and time wasting, but can be worrying or frightening if they are frequent or persistent. However, there are ways to stop or cut down on the amount of unwanted calls that you receive.
In 1999 it became unlawful for companies to make direct marketing calls to individuals who have indicated that they do not wish to receive such calls.
The Telephone Preference Service (TPS) can help to ensure that your telephone and mobile number is no longer available to organisations who may contact you with offers and information that you don’t wish to receive.
You can register with them on their website, contact the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) for more information. It can take up to 28 days for the registration to take effect.
Before you register, it is important to consider that this will stop you from receiving information from companies that you may be interested in.
Silent calls often occur when marketing companies try to contact you. They use an automated calling system which calls large number of people at the same time. If you are not the first person to answer the call, you will only hear silence at the other end as the operator is busy with another person.
You can also stop these calls by registering with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS). See the above section for further details.
Malicious or Abusive Calls
If you receive a malicious or abusive call, contact your service provider immediately. All telephone companies have different procedures for dealing with such calls and will advise you on the appropriate action to take.
This may involve changing your telephone number or tracing future calls. In some circumstances it may be advisable to involve the police.
Priority Fault Repair for Disabled People (Landlines Only)
Your phone company must provide you with a priority fault repair service if you have a disability. This means if your telephone connection stops working they will repair it quickly. There are specific eligibility criteria for this service, you may also be eligible if you have a chronic illness or are housebound. You will need to register for this service, so contact your supplier as they all have different eligibility criteria. BT have produced a handy guide on BT’s Priority Fault Repair Service.
Protected Services Scheme
Some telephone providers, such as BT, offer a Protected Services Scheme. This means that if you were unable to pay your bill on time for example you had an unexpected stay in hospital your telephone line will not be cut off.
You can nominate a relative or friend who the Telephone Provider can contact if your bill is not paid. They can then work together to make sure your phone line isn’t disconnected. For more information on this service contact your Telephone Provider or visit BTs website for more details on their service.
Free 195 Directory Enquiries
If you’re not able to read or hold a telephone directory due to illness or disability, you can apply for free 195 Directory Enquiries. This service is available to BT customers. For more details please visit BT’s website.
Complaining about your Service Provider
If you have a complaint about your service provider, whether it is about the quality of your telephone service or about the standard of their customer services, you should contact their complaints department in the first instance.
If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your initial complaint, you can contact Ofcom the independent regulator for all UK communications industries. You can contact their complaints department via the OfCom website.
Other Useful Information
- Mobile phones article on Information Now may be of interest
Last updated: October 29, 2020